Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mark Dacascos - Crying Freeman (1995) (Full movie)

Happy 51st Birthday Mark Dacascos!!!

Click for larger pic

I'm posting the full movie Crying Freeman in his honor!


Crying Freeman (1995)

A lethal assassin for a secret Chinese organisation, who sheds tears of regret each time he kills, is seen swiftly and mercilessly executing three Yakuza gangsters by a beautiful artist. She is captivated by the grace of his kill and later falls in love with him. An intense power struggle for the leadership of the Yakuza Clans ensues as they seek vengeance for the death of their leader. They soon realise the fatal mistake of underestimating the deadly skills of the Crying Freeman.


  • Based on the Japanese Manga Crying Freeman
  • Julie Condra and Mark Dacascos met and co-starred in this film, and then they married in real life.
  • Mark Dacascos and director Christophe Gans choreographed the end sword fight.
  • Mark Dacascos does all his own stunts in the film.
  • Jason Scott Lee was originally wanted for the role but he had a three-picture obligation for Universal Pictures and could not commit to the project. Mark Dacascos lobbied for the part and eventually went on to became Christophe Gan's actor of choice for future and upcoming films.
  • Despite being heavily promoted by Viz Media on Animerica magazine and reprints of the Crying Freeman graphic novel, the film was never released in the United States.

For more information:

Mark Dacascos - American Samurai (1992) (Full movie)

Happy 51st Birthday Mark Dacascos!!!

Click for larger pic

I'm posting the full movie American Samurai which Mark co-stars in his honor!


American Samurai (1992)

An American reporter teams up with a martial arts expert, whose half-brother is a "yakuza"--Japanese mafia--drug dealer to battle swordsmen from around the world n a Turkish arena.

  • This was Mark Dacascos' first major movie role
  • The movie was filmed in Turkey

For more information:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

UFC Fight Night 61: 10 GIFs of Antonio Silva X Frank Mir

UFC Fight Night 61 (aka UFC Fight Night:  Bigfoot vs Mir) was held Feb 22, 2015 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. This event set the record for the most wins by underdogs in 10 out of 11 bouts!

Former 2-time UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir (#13 / 16W-9L) faced the favorite Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (#8 / 18W-6L, 1 NC) in the Main Event. Mir going into the fight had a losing streak of 4 fights vs some of the top fighters in the Heavyweight Division, namely Alistair Overeem, Josh Barnett, Daniel Cormier and Junior Dos Santos. Silva in his last 4 fights saw him beat Alistair Overeem, a Loss to Cain Velazquez, a Draw against Mark Hunt and was KO’d by Andrei Arlovski.

Mir KO’d Bigfoot at the 1:40 mark in Rd 1 with a Left Jab-Left Hook combo and awarded a Performance of the Night bonus of $50,000. With this win, it was Mir’s first since 2011, and he set a record with tallying 12 Finishes, the most Finishes in UFC Heavyweight history. Rounding out the Top 4  Most Finishes in UFC Heavyweight history:  Gabriel Gonzaga is 2nd with his 11 finishes; Andrei Arlovski (10) and last but not least, Cain Velasquez with 9 finishes.

In the post-fight interview, Mir credited his new boxing coach, Angelo Reyes, for putting him on a different level – switching to Orthodox Stance (for Righties, Left Hand in front and Right in rear).

“I came out looking for the jab. I knew that, you know, hey, he hits hard. No doubt behind that he has a long right hand so when I got back to boxing, and I wrestle left side forward , so both the wrestling coach and our head coach Ricky,  Angelo said, ‘Hey, switch back to orthodox.’ So I did, that’s why I took the extra time off, learned how to box the correct way. I got back to the roots on it. That’s where you saw the jab, setting it up. It sets up everything, I’ve never had a dominating jab. And really, the dominating jab is an important punch, especially in the heavyweight division.”

Here are some GIF highlights I’ve made of the fight.

Congratulations to Frank Mir!


Left Jab-Left Hook Combo that floored Bigfoot

Mir's Ground and Pound

All-in-One Realtime GIF

All-in-One SloMo Replay GIF

Above GIF spliced into 3 separate SloMo's

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Green Hornet episode 23 - Alias the Scarf (24 Feb 1967)

48 years ago on this date of February 24th in the year 1967, the 23rd episode of the new TV series, The Green Hornet, aired.

Posted this episode to mirror the airdate from 48 years ago.


Green Hornet episode 23
Alias the Scarf (24 Feb 1967) 
When a wax museum's figure of The Scarf, an infamous strangler from 20 years ago, is replaced in the center display spot by effigies of the Green Hornet & Kato, the waxen form of Scarf seemingly comes to life and starts attacking people. Using the museum researcher's manuscript about the Scarf, the Green Hornet & Kato attempt to snare the killer before he claims any more victims.



Horror film star John Carradine plays the researcher. He was the father of David Carradine of “Kung Fu” fame.

Other episodes of The Green Hornet posted:

For more information, please check:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Lunar New Year 2015! / The Year of the Goat

... or Sheep or Ram!

To my readers who celebrate the Lunar New Year aka Chinese New Year, I wanted to wish you and your loved ones Health, Happiness, and Prosperity in this Year of the Goat!

gōng xǐ fā cái / Congratulations and Prosperity / 恭喜發財 / 恭喜发财
xīn nián kuài lè / Happy New Year / 新年快樂 / 新年快乐
nián nián yǒu yú / Wishing you prosperity every year / 年年有餘 / 年年有馀

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Green Hornet episode 22 - Trouble For Prince Charming (17 Feb 1967)

48 years ago on this date of February 17th in the year 1967, the 22nd episode of the new TV series, The Green Hornet, aired.

Posted this episode to mirror the airdate from 48 years ago.


Green Hornet episode 22
Trouble For Prince Charming (17 Feb 1967) 
The fiancée of a visiting dignitary, Prince Rafil, is kidnapped. The crooks demand Rafil return home and announce his abdication, or else the future princess will be killed. Britt Reid knows that meeting their demands will be no guarantee of the young lady's safety, but when he is unable to dissuade the prince from returning home, he works out another strategy. In his Green Hornet guise, he kidnaps Prince Rafil and offers to free his fiancée in exchange for a fee. Suspecting she is being held by some of Rafil's own men, he sneaks into the foreign consulate to look for...

Other episodes of The Green Hornet posted:

For more information, please check:

Friday, February 13, 2015

"Fifty Important Elements in Martial Arts" by Badger Johnson

Fifty Important Elements in Martial Arts

01. Air sense - Knowing where your body is in 3-D space. Learned in tumbling, springboard diving, spinning in dance, pivoting in broken field running.

02. Ground sense - Knowing how to unbalance the opponent in top control, how to prevent being swept when in top control. Using the x-guard with up-kicks. Training shrimping, various escapes and rolling to a better position.

03. Contact reflexes - Using various flow drills to learn to coordinate hand movements. Using beats and binds.

04. Understanding ‘aliveness’ - Using footwork, energy and resistance in training, avoiding the static, pushing the dynamic, learning pressure and negative pressure (attack by drawing).

05. Understanding delivery systems - This is the framework used for applying the moves, defenses and attacks in a particular range. Mobility, efficient guard, methods of application. Applies to many areas of self-improvement. Development requires a strong purpose or desire. Includes the essential methods of training.

06. Cardio base training – This the basis for emotional content, intensity and ferocity. I discovered that the basis of high intensity flow is derived from being able to sustain an effort, to surge, to actively recover between surges. Otherwise, after a surge you have a fade.

07. Understanding training zones - Including active recovery, burst, tempo. You have to have experience in all the training zones. Based on Heart Rate max and perceived effort.
o 60 % effort - basic active recovery
o 70% effort - easy
o 80% effort - tempo
o 90% effort - lactic threshold - feeling of pressure, but sustainable
o 95% effort - VO2max training zone - sustainable for 30-40 seconds
o 100% effort - Neuromuscular / Burst and 100% plus effort - sustainable for 15 seconds

08. Strength development – Making areas that are normally weak even in strong individuals strength in grip, forearms, neck, abs, posterior chain, calves, hamstrings (retracting), triceps (jabs), jaw muscles (taking a punch). Mainly involved in maintaining defensive structure and posture, on the ground, head up, issuing power from short chamber position, retracting the weapon, gripping the weapon, grip fighting, resisting a punch (medicine ball training).

09. Fast eyes - Understanding and familiarity with all the ranges - having experience in all the major alive arts allowing nearly instantaneous deconstruction of movement as it happens.

10. Conceptual speed - Feeling of being in the zone, lost in the movement, lack of conscious control; (instinctive flow).

11. Short power development - Since it’s important to be able to strike from where you are, without chambering, development of short power is needed. A ripple or pulse from the hips, closing a fist, shaking the shoulders, sudden inclination or twisting.

12. Ground path power - Being able to ‘sit down’ into an attack, limiting rebound, transmitting all energy into the target. An example is slamming straight of the rear leg all the way up to the forearm and the wrist tilt punch, directing the energy up into the target limiting rebound.

13. Eyes wide open - When sparring, there is a natural tendency is to close the eyes when punched. Through use of training gear, goggles, helmet. Practice keeping eyes open until it eliminates the grimacing reflex.

14. Comfort in Bleeding - fear of seeing one’s own blood, losing the desire to resist or contend at the sight of blood, touching the face, being worried about blood loss. All these need to be controlled.

15. Seeing tells - Developing fakes and feints is important. Part of being able to do fakes and feints is knowing what tells are seen. Pulling back the fist, clenching the fist, face turning red, face turning white.

16. Insertions - Through rhythm and timing developing the ability to insert a technique on the half-beat, though an opening. Developed primarily though Sinawali.

17. Broken rhythm. Attacking into the opponent’s attacks, at start, during development, at the extension. Getting the opponent’s timing and subdividing their beat. In fencing ‘counter time’ is an attack that responds to the opponent’s counter-attack.

18. Footwork – Various methods include penetration step, fencing lunge on heel, krabi-krabong walking step, boxing sidestep. Manipulation of your center of gravity puts you in advantageous positions.

19. Waist bending - Fade away, bob and weave, and other evasive moves done “in the pocket”.

20. Ground flow in grappling - Ability to sense and anticipate the opponents’ moves, using landmarks and proprioceptive senses. When pulled, add energy to unbalance. Ability to unbalance from bottom control. Slow rolling.

21. Active anticipation in grappling - Luring opponent into giving a limb, ducking under and into a collar choke.

22. Grip fighting; wrist control - Wrist control denies the opponent’s attempt to grab. Stripping the grip, gripping to an arm drag, resisting grip being stripped.

23. Wall fighting - Like ground fighting, positional dominance up against a wall or the fence.

24. Ability to relax under pressure - using head or neck control, rubber guard, posture control to prevent posturing up, using various guards, using smothering top control. Closed guard; Open guard; Half-guard; Butterfly guard; Spider guard; X-guard, de La Riva guard; Deep half-guard.

25. Importance of positional dominance over single technique - Single techniques are not guaranteed to work if positional dominance isn’t achieved. In positional dominance you can relatively easily free a limb or technique while preventing a counter attack. With PD, you can flow to neutralize an attempted attack or initiate an attack. There are a few sub-types. Top control, full favor, partial favor, bottom control, partial/full (rubber guard), knee-in-belly top control.

26. Understanding of types of positional control - This includes partial, full, in favor partial, unfavored partial.

27. Use of tools to drive the empty hand. - Learning coordination, reinforcement, augmentation,  training with heavy weapons. Various footwork patterns are developed due to weapons torquing.

28. Developing hand-eye coordination, hand-to-hand coordination. - Through repetition, gaming, anticipation, improving reflexes, paired movement is developed.

29. Having a dominant side game and a non-dominant side game. - Flowing from regular to southpaw stances and positions. Learning escapes from position on both sides. Having both a left and a right lead. Having a footwork game from both sides. Spinning left and right.

30. Ability to develop your own training methods – Methods include self-coaching, identifying needs and developing game plans to accomplish those, using journaling to see progress and predict outcome. Knowing that there’s a 2-week lag in training outcome is key.

31. Specific defense in all zones, - Including C-M boxing, peek-a-boo defense, rubber guard, grip stripping, pulling guard, sprawling, wall fighting, grip fighting.

32. Development of various games. – Methods include slow rolling, slow flowing, stick flow, throwing flow, slow striking flow, crushing top game, binding bottom game, x-guard game, pummeling and collar-tie game.

33. Understanding the limits. - Multiple opponents, situational awareness, ambush, disarms, unarmed against weapons.

34. Understanding performance-based training. – Does not matter if one is doing sport or full contact sparring with gear, the proof is in the ability to perform.

35. Understanding low-attribute-based methods. - Your system must be effective for the weak or the small, and not based on overwhelming by power or strength, which can lead to a stalemate. Use of leverage, position, posture and timing.

36. Mastering the Ego (tapping out).  - Some people get to a certain level, but don’t want to test themselves for fear of having to tap out, or have their methods exposed as not effective in certain ranges. A very hard lesson to learn, perhaps best done in play. Slow rolling, catch-and-release sparring. Letting the opponent bring their A-game, putting yourself in bad positions to start.

37. Rooting out hypocrisy, misconceptions and errors in training. - Sometimes we cling to ineffective methods, and keep repeating things which don’t really work. Sparring with a member of your own gym, not going to train in other gyms, entering as a beginner.

38. How to maximize your training dollar. - Some things just can’t be reliably trained on a continuing basis. High attribute skills deteriorate like ring rust. Learn which training aspects are necessary and sufficient to maintain skill and ability and conditioning and make sure you do those consistently. Consistency and longevity trumps almost all systems and styles.

39. Understanding the use of gear. Using the right gear for the right range to prevent injury. Minimizing gear, essential gear (eye and groin protection). Start out with extra gear, over time, working with familiar opponents, reduce gear and not incur injury is important. Learn what gear should always be used, like eye protection. Don’t be afraid to use gear, especially in certain ranges. Use wrestling ear protection, use mouth-guard and spend the money to get a good one.

40. Learning to set goals. - Set up training goals, set short-term, medium term and long-term goals, set up events to enter, keep a journal and analyze it for trends. Learn how to taper, how to catch a peak.

41. Recognizing and understanding transparency. - Transparency is basically reducing inertia. You don’t want the methods to get in the way of training, you don’t want to incur injuries. Reducing the barriers and thresholds to getting out there, making it less of a conscious decision and just something you do, like going to work is key. If something is giving you trouble, look for ways to make it more flexible, more comfortable, while not reducing effectiveness. Putting brakes and shifters on the handlebars of modern bicycles is an example. Going to clipless pedals which promotes efficiency and energy transfer in the power-train s another.

42. Learning how to conceptualize. – Practice going from the specific to the general, general to the specific. Whenever you’re making a specific concept, at the same time try to step back and generalize. Talking about ‘the enemy’ think in terms of ‘how am I the enemy?’, ‘what are the internal and external enemies?’ When generalizing always look to find specifics.

43. Learn how to build your framework of knowledge and understanding. - Find landmarks. Find disparate things, which share aspects. Look for methods of cross-training. Look at things as having a pyramid structure, find the base and the peak.

44. Learn how to find the fun in training. – Enjoying your training is key. Using gaming, turning work into a game.

45. Learn how to let your opponent bring their “A” game. - All too often we try to repress, win, beat the opponent, but if you do, you won’t learn to broaden your own game. Employ this strategy in personal relationships as well. Always try to apply lessons in life to martial arts and apply martial lessons to normal life.

46. Discover what type of learner you are. - Some people learn better with visual, some hands on, some need the written word. Try different methods. When working with students ask questions about how they learn best. If you can come at a problem from multiple angles, you can finally understand it.

47. Discover how to get optimal feedback. – Methods include video taping yourself, working on equipment, getting a partner’s opinion. One of the hardest things is to see one’s self. Work in a mirror, get video of yourself, think of how you would defeat yourself, to uncover limitations. Know your limitations and work within them, but occasionally set up ways to break out of them.

48. Learn how to journal. - How to keep journaling, what to journal, how to use your journaling. Use of electronic journaling, blogging, tracking diet are all important guidelines and landmarks. Since we only benefit from training down two weeks past, we often forget where we were. With journaling you can look back and spot trends.

49. How to develop power. - The hips, the shoulder, the waist, the forearm, the fist, the environment. One clever way to get power is jumping off the cage. Get a rebounder, jump rope, jump on one foot, skip, dance, tumble, use cables and rubber bands. Heavy hands, towing sleds, pushing sleds are ways to add resistance to normal movements.

50. How to bring out your killer instinct. - Base training with bursts, self-hypnosis, imagery, dramatic music while training, watching videos while training (stationary cycling).

-by Badger Johnson 1-19-2015

Please check out Badger Johnson's other essays:

NOTE:  My sincerest appreciation for Badger's gracious consent for permission to archive his essay to my site.

Please leave a Comment/Feedback for Badger below.

Expanded Ways of Attack by Badger Johnson

Expanded Ways of Attack

When Bruce Lee adapted the Five Angles of Attack from reading about it in a fencing manual, he did not have as complete a vision of all possible aspects of fighting as we do now. With that in mind I think we can expand those angles to include some aspects that are seen in mixed martial arts. His original notion was a method of grouping attack outside of specific techniques, but those attacks don't cover the grappling ranges very well. It would be not be as descriptive or useful to explain a throw, a takedown, or a submission in terms like SAA, since it's not a single motion.

Here then is an expansion of the angles of attack with respect to modern martial arts:

RANGES - A better method of analysis is achieved by grouping attack methods by range.

·      Single Attack (SAA) - a single, simple attack.
·      Attack by combination (ABC) - using a planned flurry of blows to open lines.
·      Indirect attack (PIA) – attack with faking, feinting.
·      Hand/Arm/Leg/Body immobilization attack (IA) - any attack, including grabs, parries, blocks or traps, which opens a line.
·      Attack by Drawing (ABD) - opening a line to draw an attack, which bring the opponent into range or creates vulnerability.
·      Attack by Sacrifice (ABS) - taking a hit to open a line. In chess giving up a piece to open a line, gain territory or advantage.

Standing Grappling
·      Attack by Leverage (ABLE) – attack by various whizzers, trips, sweeps.
·      Attack by Penetration (ABP) (takedown, tackle). In wrestling, you lower the level and then acquire the hold via the penetration step.
·      Attack by Unbalancing (ABU) – attack by removing the center of gravity beyond the base of support.
·      Attack by Lifting (ABLI) – attack by suplex, body lock twisting lifts, spiking and spearing.
·      ABD - same as above but with specific elements, including sprawling.
·      Attack by Sacrifice (ABS) - Sacrifice throws, giving an advantage to get leverage, pulling guard.

Ground Grappling
·      Attack by top control or position - (ABTC) In ground grappling, top control serves as an attack by positional dominance.
·      Unskilled opponents can tap to being under top control in a panic.
·      Attack by Submission (ABSub) - a type of positional dominance attack, but with ability to end the fight immediately.
·      ABD - An ABD but with specific grappling elements.
·      Attack by Sacrifice (ABS) – attack by giving up a limb to get a sweep.

-Badger Johnson, 2015

Please check out Badger Johnson's other essays:

NOTE:  My sincerest gratitude to Badger Johnson for his kind permission in posting his essay here.

Please leave a Comment/Feedback for Badger below.

"Iron and the Soul" by Henry Rollins

On this date Feb 13, back in 1961, Henry Rollins was born. Happy 54th Birthday!!

Posting an inspirational essay he wrote that I hope it helps you in your Sojourn of Septillion Steps!!

"Iron and the Soul" by Henry Rollins

I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself.


When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me “garbage can” and telling me I’d be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn’t run home crying, wondering why. I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

I hated myself all the time. As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn’t going to get pounded in the hallway between classes. Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you’ll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time. I didn’t think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my advisor. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the blackboard. Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no. He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred-pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn’t even drag them to my mom’s car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.’s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn’t looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing. In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn’t want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in.

Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn’t know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away. You couldn’t say sh–t to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn’t ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone’s shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr. Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body.

Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn’t see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

I prefer to work out alone. It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you’re made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it’s some kind of miracle if you’re not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

Details Magazine, January 1994

NOTE:  The last paragraph is often quoted and I'll repeat it here:

"The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds."

Posted 2/24/15 and backdated to 2/10. Check this future post for an explanation, "Catchup 2015 Jan - Feb". (no link for now)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Addendum, Clarification and Expansion of Paul Vunak's Fighting Secrets by Badger Johnson

My friend Badger Johnson wrote up this essay after reading:

With Badger's kind permission, I'm posting his essay to my site. Truly hope this helps you in your Sojourn of Septillion Steps!

Good luck in your training!

"Addendum, Clarification and Expansion of Paul Vunak's Fighting Secrets"

Author’s Note: This is an essay designed to look constructively into Vu’s list of fighting secrets. It’s essentially a deconstruction and is not an attempt to be dismissive or disrespectful of his work.  If you print out his list and refer to it while reading this it will be clearer.

1. Stress Inoculation – “I used riding my bike wearing plastic/rubber lined rain gear in 95 degree weather for three years. Now that's some stress inoculation and it’s consistently and easily repeatable. The key though, is to do the right kind and to not go past the point where it is causing injury or creating excess cortisol. But it takes a long time (weeks of consistent practice) to get an effect.

2. SI stand up – “Learning to take a punch with your eyes open - not closing your eyes when about to be hit. This is done by using headgear and goggles and doing a slow progression to boxing gloves. In reality you shield your eyes so there's no 'eye contact' but that's not what you're doing. You're trying to remove the 'blink reflex'.”

3. Accordion drill – “I don't believe Vu and his students actually did this, or did it very infrequently, for various reasons. It's not based on 'aliveness' and it has artificiality about it. To learn ranges, you train that range, you train transitions. Also, you go to an expert and immerse yourself in his range. I.e. don't do 'anti-grappling' with a non-grappler. Keep in mind that complex drills are often counter-productive, being substituted for actual sparring.”

4. Takedown Defense - "This is also an example of 'mental defense' in that it is not something you can reliably practice, it is not a drill that you can find a partner to help you practice, either the groin kick or the biting. So it can't be functionalize. The real way to learn takedown defense - see the UFC - is to learn how wrestlers do it, learn to sprawl, learn to do BJJ with an actual instructor. Relying on extreme moves is fine until someone who is really skilled figures this out. They will have positional dominance on you and be much better at doing this. You must have positional dominance either from top control or bottom control (skill and leverage) before you can employ 'extreme measures'."

5. Favorite Takedown - "There are many ways to safely throw an unskilled opponent and if you do practice judo you will find it easy to do. Pulling guard is OK, if you have skills workable off your back. Otherwise it is not something I'd promote in a 'fight' with a stranger. Trips, sweeps, and just plain man-handling someone who is not aware of balance attacks works better. Again, he's trying to give out 'secrets that someone can 'read' about and use. This whole idea is dubious"

6. Straight Blast - "High attribute-based move. Can your 25 year old athletic daughter use this? Can your wife use it? Possibly, they might, given some training. In addition there's a hidden problem with doing a straight blast and that is most people are good with going forward with a shuffle, like a fencer, one side forward. It takes a fair amount of training to do that 'walking step' you see in KK (Krabi Krabong), where the left foot steps forward, unlike the sliding advance you see in boxing and fencing. It's not clear why people want to put that one side forward, and few of the SB guys will talk about the walking step, in fact in some of Vu's videos he uses it but his student's don't."

7. Pendulum - "Not a bad concept - hard to train with a partner, too easy to be lulled by cooperation. Not everyone can bring themselves to blind or neuter someone. By the time you realize the fight is to the death you've already forgotten technique. Same thing is true with biting. We have mental barriers to doing things like that. You're not going to be able to train your daughter or wife to bite off someone's nose and rip off a testicle. In fact many women have trouble giving themselves permission to hit someone. One thing to remember is that these tips have to work for people who really need them. Telling a 250lb 6'5 guy about how to groin kick or eye gouge is kind of silly. He can just about do anything and end most fights. It's the small, frail, female or elderly person, the child who we must imagine using SD ideas and at least try to adapt things for that kind of person. Yes training of some kind is required, but think 'can it be trained with a partner', can it be functionalized under stress and is it reasonable? If a person tries to grab your purse, you are not going to want to blind them (though some might)."

8. Secret of Interception - "As I said in a recent post the secret of broken rhythm is not 'you' breaking your rhythm it's you picking up and breaking your opponent's rhythm. Here Vu talks about how BL (Bruce Lee) would entice someone to move forward then suddenly intercept. However that aside, WHERE are these videos of BL sparring and doing this. WHY hasn't Vu put them on CD or DVD and become an instant millionaire? Nobody I know or have read about has ever suggested there are any videos or tapes or anything where BL is sparring and he doesn't use this 'piking' or shrimping movement sparring with Dan at the Internationals. I'm not saying Vu is making this up, because it makes sense. I'm just wondering where this footage is"

9. Defanging – “Angle #2 is a backhand strike. Though it might subtend a favorable angle it will undoubtedly be a slower strike, depending on the tool used. Of course the 'flick' using the rotation of the wrist can be a very fast strike. I do remember my 'ah-ha' moment when I realized that using the concept of range it was easier to hit the hand (distance wise) than to hit the opponent's head or body But at the same time, the hand is moving around. In DB fights you see people swipe at the hand and miss. So the key here is how to make the opponent put their hand in range and keep it there for you to hit. The answer is by ABD (Attack by Drawing). You lure their hand into range moving slowly and then defang. So though Vu talks about 'what' he doesn't mention the 'how'."

10. Isometrics the Secret to the Guard - "Localized muscular endurance. This is one of about four types of energy that you learn to train and can train by doing your sport. In addition the secret to maintaining guard and bottom control is not constant muscular tension, it's learning efficient control while being relaxed. I guarantee you Rickson (or any good blue belt in BJJ) is not grabbing on and holding on for dear life when he traps and controls you from guard."

11. One inch punch – “Vu talks about his 'demo punch' but that is different than his fighting 'one inch punch'. See where James DeMile talks about this. In addition the cultivation of 'short power' is worth doing. I've talked about it and it emanates from the waist and the wrist. Find ways to train 'short power' from everywhere and do them all. From breaking to punching to hitting a makiwara to hitting paper and punching at candle flames and punching coffee cans across a picnic table and finger spearing watermelons. Over time all your lead punches and your hooks will have added power. Primarily, though what you need to train is your forearm, your grip and your finger strength. It goes along with BL's idea to train to make things that are weak even in strong people strong. His bridge arm and his forearms."

12. Super Coordination ! - "I don't buy this as a way to make trapping or other complex high attribute things work. We know from the videos that Roy Harris does that there are ways to functionalize trapping and they are technical. Once again Vu is saying 'spar a lot with a guy who will do this with you and finding a guy who can do that - good luck'. I think high level, high attribute stuff happens, partly because the person has a knack. Not everyone is going to have this coordination and some things you just can't teach. I've had students who I knew were never going to be coordinated and I know myself there are some things I am never going to be super good at, given the time at hand. For example a professional style tennis serve or a college level high dive twisting somersault is going to be out of most people’s reach. Keep it real."

13. Flashlight principle “This sounds good. Quite frequently, if you give someone
a special perspective in sparring they can end up beating  their opponent. It doesn't have to be limited to 'flashlighting' their weapons hand. So take this principle and broaden it.

14. Mother of All Drills - "While I would agree with the three criteria, realistic, alive and mode, I don't believe he actually does this. I think it's one of those imaginary ideas. You can simulate all this stuff in the studio, mats, training blades, eye protection because as Jigoro Kano said the method of training trumps dangerous moves. Should you seek to employ things like distractions, noise, darkness, and obstacles. Sure, but I'd do them one at a time. Too much chaos and we don't learn."

15. The U drill - "This is a corollary to my thesis that the best and only way to train with the knife is to use 'alive' methods. That is to start out with double wrist control and top control (then later bottom control with full guard and double wrist control. Once you have done this and learned how to deal you can move on. The idea of learning fighting or grappling with the blade from the non-contact range is ludicrous. It just doesn't happen. Now you might be able to move from the contract range, learning contact reflexes like Vu says to the 'gap range' but not de novo."

16. How To Double Your speed !  - "Though I tend to agree with his description we now know there are other ways to train the nervous system to improve speed. I would agree that there are many types of speed and he covers that part well. Initiation speed, speed of combinations, reaction speed and performance speed are among the many types. There's also 'speed of thought' (fast eyes) and timing speed (speed of change or flow). I would often use elastic bands or springs rather than weights. And I would train the whole body, not just an arm or leg. You can improve your running speed, (leg turnover) by running a slight downhill. You can improve your movement speed by training under water (just your body). You can improve your 'eye speed' by understanding complex moves. For example I did not understand nor could I follow soccer until I played it a little and knew the rules. By being able to structure the sport I improved my 'eye speed' mostly by knowing where to look and what to look for."

17. Kettlebell – “I completely agree with this one, but will expand on it. The kettlebell overhead snatch is working what I call the posterior chain muscles. Those are the glutes, hamstrings and spinal erectors. These muscles are used in jumping, long jumping and high jumping. The exercise cited can also be done with a dumbbell, and is called 'the goblet squat', which is a little less intense and can be used as a precursor. Many people who tout the squat as the king of exercises do it in such a way as to almost eliminate the posterior chain and focus instead on the quads maybe upper back and calves. By putting the bar behind the neck the vector is shifted away from the posterior chain. Thus front squats, goblet squats and the OH squat are superior athletically. You can do overhead squats just using a wooden dowel about 1" thick normally used to hang clothes in a closet. The resistance or weight is inconsequential while you develop form. Later you can move to just an Olympic bar (45lbs) and then much later start adding weight, but again even advanced players don't need a lot of weight."

18. What Makes Us Different? - "Totally agree here, and the only way to expand is to recite the tenets of 'Alive' training. Finishing moves are useless if you don't know the flow, the method of training and the positional dominance. Thus Gene Lebell's book on finishing moves is totally worthless as a training manual since it doesn’t show sequence or training methods, while Eddie Bravo's book showing the tree behind the moves (JuJitsu UnleashedMastering the Rubber Guard, etc) do have the footwork, the timing and the progression. It's actually more than the drills but the development of 'the flow' in various areas. There's striking flow, grappling flow and takedown flow."

19. The Power of the Fork - “Agree with this but the concept needs to be broadened. I call it attack on multilple fronts. One uses the fork not just for human enemies but for internal and external problems of all kinds. Attack on multiple fronts and don't meet the enemy (ideological or physical) force-on-force and a weaker force can defeat a stronger but un-united force.”

20. The Double Progressive Indirect attack - "Here the question should be, 'why can't people who know how to punch in combination, or how to do PIA pull it off in a fight'. That's the key to this and it all comes down to broken rhythm. This is timing or perceiving your opponents rhythm and then breaking it. The other question is 'how do effectively do a fake'. It's not easy, because too broad a fake and the opponent is not fooled. The fake must be subtle and indistinguishable from a real technique. We fake with the hip, the shoulder and the head primarily. So to make this key concept work, we have to understand more about how hard it is to punch in combination and how to fake effectively."

21. Locking the Art of Joint Reversals - "Here, Vu gets it right in a sense, but there is more to it. One can get a lock out of a 'catch' a scoop, a parry and a 'stop' (shooting your hand to the shoulder of the opponent and stopping his punch before it gains speed.) But you must also pay attention to unbalancing your opponent and some angulation footwork. Too often you see RBSD (Reality-Based Self-Defense) guys doing moves against a single arm or punch or something but they are doing it statically, not dynamically. That means they are not disrupting the opponent's balance they are not driving forward or using forward pressure. Now, I know Vu knows this he just failed to elucidate it here. Destructions are one type of 'stop' but to be clear you can't just throw a destruction - it has to 'stop' the punch first. Otherwise the punch may still connect even if it causes less damage. Catch the punch and simultaneously bring down the elbow to the back of the hand, or stab the bicep. Here you've stopped it and at the same time applied the destruction which weakens the technique. You can use stops and destructions in other areas, leg, takedown defense etc. You can also use this in the mental game. You can interrupt and stop and destruct the opponent's will to fight. Much better than a physical joint lock. Now in addition a joint lock is a means to an end. You must neutralize the opponent also which usually means taking them to the ground. Don't just 'joint lock' and stand there. Maintain the body contact ahd take to the ground to finish the move."

22. Footwork - "Few people really understand footwork and how to do it. I don't think it's something you set out to learn by itself, but you learn it as a way to keep moving and doing what you do. We do learn some 'footwork' in tennis, but what really teaches us is following and trying to return the ball. We do learn footwork in basketball, but really, talented players come up with their own footwork to make that basket and run circles around the other player. Watch a playground basketball game. Do you really think any of those guys studied basketball footwork? The only footwork worth studying independently is the fencing lunge and the KK walking step. All the other stuff is to be learned on the fly. I might make a further exception and say certain footwork involved in learning to bob and weave in boxing should be learned, because they've worked out a pretty good system for it. But as Vu said, if you learn it by dancing, you will learn by imitation because you 'want to move like that' to follow the beat. It's more instinctive and instructive when music is involved and I've always said if a MA is not a good dancer he will not be a good MA."

23. The Nut Cracker - "This is, again, what I think is an 'imaginary drill' (which doesn’t make it bad) and people do not practice this regularly because it is high chaos and low learning. One must realize that nobody can adequately train to defend against an ambush, unless that person is being ambushed every day. For example someone who is a street cop is constantly being ambushed. By that I mean hit from all sides with surprises. They learn street smarts and gain experience so that in time, if they survive it is hard to 'ambush' them. Note that I'm not limiting it to a fighting drill or even physical confrontation. It's more a mental thing, dealing with surprise. Though there are hundreds of grappling moves, in the end the accomplished grappler doesn't have to learn an individual response to each of them (though they might to a degree). They learn to improvise and flow and feel or sense what's about to happen. So while it's good to show that a 'takedown' can occur from any direction, nobody is going to be any better at surviving it by doing this 'imaginary' but creative drill than they will by doing football or tackles or normal wrestling. And most people since they are not doing this drill every day will continue to be surprised and be taken down badly from an ambush. It's a fact of life that in general, if you're ambushed (particularly with a weapon) you lose. The key here is to learn how not to be surprised by 'not being there'."

24. The Missile – “I would agree that this might be a fun drill. I'm not convinced that they actually practiced this either but the key here is learning how stereoscopic vision and depth perception works. When a fencer or boxer or bowie knife fighter throws their jab, they want it to be straight at the opponent's eyes so that the opponent can't use depth perception. It has to look like it's coming right out from the shoulder as a two-dimensional thing. This prevents timing it or seeing the build up so it's hard to avoid. James Keating talks about this for Bowie on Legacy of Steel. Though again, I think this drill shows good imagination and is clever in the way it would potentially make the straight line strikes be non-telegraphic I don't believe any boxers really do this type of training, and it would probably be easy to side step and counter."

25. Contemporary JKD’s Progression - "All I will say here is that the straight blast is a function of the footwork. Watch Vitor Belfort's feet. Then watch Benjamin Rittiner do the KK footwork. They both do it the same way. The key is in the walking step or bringing that left foot forward and not using a fencer's or a boxers, same side foot forward shuffle. This walking step provides the needed forward pressure and unbalancing to allow the Straight blast to work. Paul probably knows this since he's presumable studied KK, but he sort of failed to mention it. His students don’t do it and he does it inconsistently, mostly using the shuffle. The shuffle does not provide the necessary forward pressure."

26. Body Mechanics - "Here we see the finishing move but we hear very little about what the body mechanics are. You could give a bunch of FMA guys bladed weapons and they wouldn't hit on the right method of training body mechanics. John LaCoste did have that ability to fight inside with that twisting, bending of the knees and sliding. But we can't just watch him and try to duplicate that. There is probably a method to developing that but Vu is not telling us, if he knows. Many people have tried to duplicate LaCoste's moves and failed. The other thing about training with blades is that there is a specific progression, which even the best FMA knife guys don't seem to know. So go through this progression, incorporate 'pressure' and learn through this how to fight inside. Is it possible to learn? I don't know, especially against another person who is armed."

27. Secret to Keeping Students - "I will remind the reader what the combination of factors were, which resulted in the most intense training of my life. That was downhill skiing with headphones on. It incorporated exhaustion, music and danger. I literally risked my life driving through several blizzards and epic snowfalls to get to the slopes to repeat this experience and after it was over it stuck with me for the rest of the day as pure joy. So if you can do downhill skiing on at least intermediate slopes on 180 cm skis, then drop all training and do that instead, in season. It will give your training new meaning. We don’t always know what will keep students involved, but at some point, the evolving student will need to move on.”

28. Quieting the Mind - "I will have to admit that the practice of doing thousands of these two exercises, of which I am familiar, and being a fan of the Great Gama, I did not know they were a type of moving meditation. It’s a worthy experiment. I will also submit that long distance swimming, cycling and running will accomplish a similar thing, though with these bodyweight exercises, these is no overhead for equipment. I suppose it is a matter of temperament as to whether you can get into this type of thing, but I will agree that Vu's friend is speaking truth. For me, though it took a while and required some skill the most trance-like state I encountered was when swimming a mile in a lap pool. I think it's something like 52 lengths in a 25-meter Olympic pool and I remember how hypnotic it was to see the droplets of water sparkling in the sun, when I turned my head to breathe. In addition to the repetitive nature, swimming requires a certain amount of breath control and we know from yoga and meditation practices that breath control is a key factor. With swimming it happens and is not a result of consciously breathing a certain way. You breath to live and keep swimming in other words."

29. The Great Eight - “This is interesting and I can see the validity here. But one must be sure to keep 'forward pressure' in all of these drills. All too often you see people doing them and kind of drifting off and standing completely still. This will not work or be effective. You must be moving around (eventually, at least, once you learn the static drill combinations and get the flow down) and begin creating resistance and flow not only in the limbs, but in the body and footwork.”

30. First Minute of the Fight - "Here Vu talks about 'structuring the opponent' which is a concept I came up with in 1979 and refined in 1983. If, you can sense what type of fighter someone is you can structure them and apply your strongest range against his weakest. It's more about using range though than using a particular technique (jab and kick). The hardest opponent to do this to is one where his range is in very close. It's almost impossible to keep a determined opponent at distance using strikes. Your best bet if you see the wrestling stance and the cauliflowered ears is to offer to buy him a beer."

36. Rickson - "Vu has detailed four of the things that Rickson Gracie can do but he's missed one of the greatest. I believe that Rickson is what we call dyslexic in the physical sense. IOW, he can see in three dimensions in his head. Dyslexics are able to rotate letters and words in their mind such that it works against them to a degree when trying to read. Well consider a person who can rotate their body and their opponent's body instantaneously in real time in their head. They can 'make up' on the fly various grappling moves, submissions and flow accordingly. They can anticipate, bait and intercept the opponent's next move and because of this appear to slow down time. That's why Rickson can move slowly. He is unlikely to be caught in something. He does not need to study the various side chokes, anaconda, darce, peruvian necktie, reverse triangle, he can see them and do them on the fly. Of course this ability might be a fluke, because I don't know how you train it. By 'base' Vu means positional dominance and balance. It's very hard if not impossible to sweep Rickson if he doesn't want to be swept. (reversed)."

Thanks for reading. I have not covered the last 13 items because I don’t see an opportunity to add anything. Hope this is helpful to your training. It’s always important to deconstruct what we’re taught and to seek better methods when possible. The unexamined dogma is a missed opportunity. Seek your own truths.

BAJ - 2015

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Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps